Filipino casino operator pays back $4.63m to AMLC

A Philippines casino operator has paid back US$4.63 million stolen of Bangladesh Bank's reserve funds.
Senate President has said $34 million can be recovered from the country's banking system, the Philippine Daily Inquirer has reported.
Citing statement of legal counsel of the main suspect into the BB account heist involving US$ 81 million, the report said casino junket operator Kim Wong on Thursday turned over $4.63 million of the stolen amounts to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for safekeeping at the Philippine's central bank Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) premises.
"Early this morning, 48 hours after the adjournment of the Senate hearing, Kim Wong asked me to visit AMLC and BSP in order to inform AMLC that we are officially turning over $4.63 million mentioned by Kim Wong at the hearing," the newspaper reported quoting Inocencio Ferrer, legal counsel of Kim Wong.
The legal adviser also quoted as saying: "We completed the turnover, including counting and verification of bills.
Citing Mr. Ferer, the report said it took them three hours to count the huge sum of money in denominations of $100 using "many" counting machines akin to those used in bank.
The "receipt of funds for safekeeping" was signed by AMLC Executive Director Julia Bacay-Abad, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Philippines Major General John Gomes and AMLC member Emmanuel F. Dooc, according to the report.
The legal counsel declined to say where the money was stored before it was delivered to AMLC, only disclosing that they were provided a van with two security aides to accompany him and the huge amount on their way to the BSP.
According to the BSP, the money will be held for safekeeping by AMLC at the BSP vault that also contains the Commission on Elections' source code for the upcoming national elections in May.
Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said on Wednesday that the government can recover 40 per cent, or about $34 million, of the $81 million stolen by hackers from Bangladesh's central bank and laundered through the Philippine banking system, the daily said in a separate report.
Interviewed over radio, Recto urged law enforcement agencies to move swiftly to recover portions of the looted amount still in the country following testimony on Tuesday's Senate blue ribbon committee hearing that not all of the amount was laundered successfully through the casinos.
Under questioning by Recto, casino junket operator Kim Wong admitted that only about $61 million of the $81 million entered the casinos, the report said.
By Recto's estimate, the government can recover $34 million and these included: $17 million that Wong claimed was still with Philrem Service Corp., the remittance company that transferred the stolen money from RCBC's branch on Jupiter Street in Makati City to different accounts and individuals, but which Philrem denied.
The $10 million or P450 million that Wong's firm Eastern Hawaian Leisure Co. Ltd. received from Philrem and which Wong set aside as payment of the debt owed to him by Gao.
The $5.5 million that consists of the remaining $4.63 million of the $5 million that Wong claimed he got in the house of Philrem's Michael Bautista and the $870,000 or P40 million left from the P550 million that Wong sent to Midas casino.
The $2.362 million now with Solaire casino, which is made up of the P107.35 million it has frozen after the account of the "Ding Group" was linked to the stolen $81 million as well as P1.347 million in various denominations of cash that were confiscated from the rooms of the group.
"What's important is that we get all this money so we can return this to Bangladesh because we know this came from the poor of this country," Recto was quoted as saying., [Read More]

Source: The Financial Express


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